The effect of rheumatoid arthritis on the quality of life of primary caregivers.J Rheumatol. 2000 Jan; 27(1):76-83.JR
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and disabling disease frequently leading to physical and psychological dependence, with considerable economic consequences. Responsibility for care of the patient is taken on by a member of the family called the primary caregiver. Studies of caregivers of patients with RA are scarce. A better understanding of the caregiver's situation could provide interventions that reduce the burden and postpone institutionalization of people with arthritis disability. Our objective was to assess the effect of RA on the quality of life of primary caregivers.
Sixty-two patients from the rheumatic disease outpatient clinic and their respective caregivers were interviewed. Demographic and clinical data were recorded. Health and psychological status were measured using the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form 36 (SF-36), Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ-20), and a numerical pain rating scale. Burden of disease on the caregiver was assessed by the Caregiver Burden scale (CB scale).
The majority of caregivers were women (82.3%), married (59.7%), mean (SD) age of 39.7 (15.7) years, with children/son (32.7%) or spouse (24.2%), with low education level and low income. Thirty-seven percent displayed psychoemotional disturbance measured by SRQ-20. Emotional aspect and mental health (by SF-36) were the most affected. The mean (SD) score of total burden experienced was 1.82 (0.59). The quality of relationship between caregivers and patients and SF-36 mental health of caregivers were important predictors of burden.
Caregivers of patients with RA show high prevalence of psychological disturbance. The quality of the relationship between caregivers and patients and the mental health of the caregiver are important predictors of the burden of disease.